Buscabulla’s new album, Regresa and accompanying documentary with the same title, was initially about moving back to Puerto Rico. It still is about the journey of moving back. But, the current situation with the Coronavirus and the national quarantine has many of us questioning what things matter, makes us feel safe and normal.
“Isn’t it crazy how this situation makes you only want and crave your home and everything that gives you comfort and makes you feel safe,” Buscabulla frontwoman Raquel Berrios tells Remezcla.
When the shelter in place was put into effect, Berrios and Del Valle were happy they were living on the island and no longer in New York, where they resided for years and kicked off their music careers.
“New York was such a fun place to live. We became who we became because of New York and all the amazing people who were there. But, I always felt kind of incomplete in New York. I always felt like at the end of the day, there was always this sort of emptiness and feeling frustrated, just knowing damn my dream is to do exactly what I’m doing in New York, but I want to do it back home in Puerto Rico,” Berrios said.
Berrios says the group spent three-years working on Regresa. Dropping a record during a national pandemic isn’t the ideal scenario for Buscabulla or any artist. Berrios says, like many people who were scheduled to celebrate big events during 2020, they also feel a “little robbed” by the current situation.
“But, I’ve also been more spiritual about it in a way. I’ve been thinking maybe this is what is meant to be for it (the album). It’s an album that is pretty self-reflective, maybe it does have una congruencia o algo with what’s happening, or at least that’s the story I’m telling myself,” Berrios says.
After the hurricane devastated the island in 2017, Puerto Rico has had a flurry of other disasters, natural, fiscal and political.
But, hard as it may be, there has been a big movement of young people moving back. Berrios and Del Valle say they are lucky they were able to move back when they did. The couple lives in Aguadilla, a beach town in the western part of the island.
Regresa has a beach feel to it. Berrios says the first songs of the album are a little more angsty, but then the album turns into a form of acceptance. “I think the record reflects this transition of coming back home. It isn’t perfect, it’s authentic, but there’s a level of value in it. We come back home, and we see home as a place a lot of people have left,” she says.
Berrios says in order to understand the story and journey of the album, one should listen to it from beginning to end. The turning point of the album from angst to acceptance is the song, “Nydia.” The song came from a conversation Berrios had with Nydia Caro, a Puerto Rican icon. Caro is also featured in the song. “I believe it’s the hinge of the record most of the record I’m angsty, and when Nydia comes, there is a spiritual transcendence on the record.”
The album sounds like an electro-pop dream. The softness and catchiness of the music counter the angstier lyrics. Berrios says the band is using various elements of Latino music including, topical, electro-pop and reggae, to help evolve the music.
“Musically, I feel like we live in such a weird moment, I feel so many other interviews are asking us how we feel about reggaetón. We love reggaetón and we listen to it. This record is to find a middle ground for what being Latino means musically in 2020. I think it’s cool to pinpoint that,” Berrios says. “We want to fill that void, make something that speaks to people an evolution that is pushing it forward.”
Through its angst and spiritual transcendence, the album presents an argument asking the question, what is life really about?
“Art is important, but if it’s not leading to me helping my people or my country, then what is my purpose in life? To just have material wealth for my immediate self? I think our generation is really thinking about it. The millennial generation is already kind of poor anyway. If material wealth isn’t what we want to strive for then what do we really want to strive for,” Berrios reflects.
Although a national pandemic may not seem like the best time for dropping an album, Berrios says releasing it now may allow audiences to reflect. “Even if they can’t connect with the message, I still want them to connect with the vibe and emotion.”
Listen to Regresa here: